ARod fucked it up for everyone again. The NYC poker scene is under assault because Mr. High Profile has been all over town, and the Yankees don't like it. Thanks D-bag. NY Daily News text:
Play-Rod's bets called
Yanks tell slugger it's risky & doesn't look good to go to illicit poker dens
BY JIM RICH, MICHAEL O'KEEFFE and T.J. QUINNDAILY NEWS
The Yankees have warned slugger Alex Rodriguez that frequenting illegal city poker clubs is dangerous, but are powerless to stop him, team and baseball sources told the Daily News.
Major League Baseball sources said Rodriguez wasn't ordered to stay out of the clubs - but added baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was "keeping an eye" on A-Rod and would step in "if necessary."
"There's nothing he's doing that violates the morals clause," one baseball lawyer said. "Mostly it's just stupid. Why put himself in a position like that? Why doesn't he go play in an apartment somewhere?"
Sources familiar with Rodriguez's conversation with Yankee officials last month said the talk wasn't confrontational.
"No one admonished him," a source said. "But he was made aware that this could put him in an unflattering light or look bad in the media."
Rodriguez's taste for underground poker came to light in a Daily News story on Oct. 2 that reported he had frequented a Chelsea club with professional card shark Phil
Hellmuth. Baseball officials are concerned about one of their biggest stars being associated with an illegal gambling operation.
But there is little either the Yankees or Selig can do to stop Rodriguez, officials say, because he isn't breaking the law, even if the club operators are.
It isn't the gambling that has officials upset with the $25 million-a-year man.
Baseball bosses know players frequently play cards for money in the clubhouse, on the team plane and in hotels. Some gamble in casinos.
But officials aren't happy that the man considered by many to be the greatest active
player is rubbing elbows with gamblers - some who presumably wager on baseball games.
With clubs being raided by cops and sometimes robbed by gunmen, the 30-year-old star's flirtation with controversy or possible danger is seen as odd for a player known for his perfectly scripted public image.
"What in the world is he thinking?" a high-ranking MLB official said. "He can do what he wants in the off-season and he isn't breaking the law - we checked - but why do
Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, denied that the third baseman had been warned about playing in illegal clubs.
"The Yankees have never addressed or spoken with me in regard to any off-field activities regarding Alex Rodriguez. And the Yankees have never spoken to Alex regarding any of his off-field activities," Boras said.
Team sources, however, said A-Rod was spoken to "right around the time" the Daily News first reported his appearance in the clubs last month.
According to several sources, the Yankee stepped to the plate at a midtown club on five consecutive nights the week after the team was knocked out of the AL playoffs by the Angels. Baseball has been so jittery about players consorting with gamblers since the 1919 Black Sox scandal that it banned Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays from baseball for two years when they accepted public relations jobs with casinos in 1983.
Pete Rose has been a baseball pariah since it was revealed he bet on games while managing the Cincinnati Reds.
MLB spokesman Rich Levin declined comment yesterday.
But sources said Selig is "very unhappy," in part because of the message the poker playing sends to young fans.
"Kids look up to [Rodriguez]," a source said. "It isn't good for anybody."
Parlors among stars' favorite city hot spots Celebrities don't limit their poker-playing to flashy tournaments on television.
Big names have been going all in at the city's sleek, shadowy gambling clubs, including some that have attracted unwanted attention from police.
"Sopranos" star Robert Iler and actors Hank Azaria and Macaulay Culkin are among the well-known players who have thrown around cash in Manhattan's poker parlors.
But the highest-profile player has been Yankees superstar slugger Alex Rodriguez, who was photographed playing at a club near Union Square and has been sighted at clubs in Chelsea and on the East Side.
The card sharks aren't just celebrities, but anyone connected enough to score an invite to the clubs through a member.
While it's not illegal to play in the clubs, it's against the law for the house to profit. Clubs that take an illegal cut have ended up on the wrong end of the law, with cops shutting down six card parlors in the past month.
The popularity of the clubs reflect the national poker craze that's led to televised tournaments on sports channels and celebrity showdowns featuring such actors as Ben Affleck, Tobey Maguire and James Woods.
Jose Martinez Originally published on November